AFTER A MEAGRE decade for Slovak films and filmmakers in the 1990s, the local film industry has started to blossom in the last ten years. And in recent years Slovak films have also started to win awards at international festivals and competitions. At the beginning of this month, the Slovak movie Môj pes Killer / My Dog Killer by Mira Fornay won one of the three Hivos Tiger Awards at the 42nd International Film Festival in Rotterdam. The two other winning movies were the Austrian film Soldate Jeanette by Daniel Hoesl, and Fat Shaker by Mohammad Shirvani from Iran.
“With her film, Fornay made it to the very top of the internationally acclaimed festival,” film theoretician Radovan Holub told the Hospodárske Noviny daily. “So it [is clear that it] does not matter whether the film comes from a big or a small country, whether it is shot independently or within the mainstream, whether it casts established actors or non-professionals. What matters is whether the film’s theme can resonate with audiences – and film-loving Europe understood Fornay,” he concluded.
The movie shows one day in the life of a teenage boy who lives with his heavily drinking father, a gang of neo-Nazis that makes up for the family he lacks, and his dog, named Killer, with whom he has his strongest emotional tie. His life is turned upside down when he learns why his mother left him in early childhood.
Fornay told Hospodárske Noviny that she was not surprised by the interest of Rotterdam audiences in the issue of racism – she opined that all European countries face the same problem and that Slovakia is no exception. This is a hot topic everywhere in Europe, she added. She told the Pravda daily that she had spent two years researching the phenomenon of racism in young people, trying to explore it from within and to avoid the obvious, external side of it. “I went to them wanting to find out why they believe what they believe – something I do not believe, as I am against racism,” she explained. “I wanted to learn how they live – and I was also curious why there are so many of them, because they really are numerous these days.”
She also told Pravda that she chose non-professionals to act in her film, as she decided to prefer authenticity over the level of acting. To mix professionals and non-professionals “would be too big a compromise for me, and too exhausting”, she added.
My Dog Killer will be also screened at the European Film Market (EFM), part of the Berlin International Film Festival which takes place between February 7 and 17. It will open in Slovak cinemas on March 21.
11. Feb 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská